Saturday, May 5, 2018

Adrift

It is not easy when life hits you out of nowhere and you crash. I mean, here you are, going along, minding your own business, living your life, things are going just fine, and BAM! A monsoon hits and your boat sinks. You're left in a tiny raft in the middle of the big blue ocean, fighting for your life, wondering if it's worth it.

(I honestly haven't watched the video that goes with this image. I just really loved the picture.)

Being adrift in the ocean has exacerbated my depression. I don't want to go anywhere or do anything. I have spent a LOT of time over the past two months in tears. I am alone--if not in reality, then metaphorically. Even the people who say they understand don't REALLY understand. (Friends and family, please don't be offended; hear my heart.) 

I've been lost. Just so very lost. Emotionally. Physically. Personally. Spiritually. Sharks have circled. As have other dangerous creatures seeking to devour me at their first opportunity. And trust me, they have all tried to knock me out of my raft. I have almost been eaten more times than I care to count.

I've seen such beauty, too, though. The sights of dolphins, whales, the moon, sunrises, sunsets, and so much more--I've been awestruck. How could anyone not believe in God? I've clung to those images and to Him and in those moments, He spoke to me.

My God spoke to me in His still small voice today as I was reading His Word, words of reassurance that I desperately needed. I pray that it is ok with Him that I share these words with you. If not, then I pray that no one reads this post.

In my drifting, I have lost my way. I have been stuck. I have no idea what to do next. I believe I'm supposed to write, to finish my Memoir, but I have not been working on it at all. I have avoided it. Why? 

Fear? Because I'm stuck? Because I'm adrift? 

I have no idea.

But today, the Lord spoke to me and I hope and pray that these words are all the motivation I need to be rescued from my raft:

"Take heart and finish the task, Polly! (Zechariah 8:9, NLT) (Be strong.) I AM HERE! Get on with it, Polly. You're stuck because you haven't finished the Work. I can't move until you finish the product. You keep waiting for Me to do something miraculous. And I will. But My hands are tied until YOU finish your part. So FINISH it. Quit stalling. Quit moping. Quit waiting on Me. I'm here. I AM! I AM WITH YOU, POLLY, My Precious Joy Song (Haggai 1:13, NLT)! I am going to fulfill the promise I gave you. But you have to complete your part. Now do it!!! Just do it! Don't be afraid or discouraged (Zechariah 8:13, NLT). All that has happened has happened so I may use you for My glory, Polly. Will you be obedient to My calling? To My purpose? All you have to do is finish it!"

Lord, I will be obedient. I accept. Here I am. Use me. I am getting out of my raft and finishing the task You gave me. I love You, Lord.

Friends, family, loved ones who have read this far: will you pray with and for me that I will finish the task that the Lord has given me and that I will stay the course??? That I will be obedient? That I will not let depression keep me from doing what I know God has called me to do?

Thank you. I love you all!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

A confession of sin

Now, don't get all bent out of shape that I'm doing a 3rd post on confession. This one is completely different from the other 2 about confession. Ironic, though, that confession still fits as the topic. Bear with me, please?

Over the course of this past week, I have had a "spiritual awakening." I won't go into all the "gory" details, but I do feel that it is important for me to share the following confession with you. James 4:17 says, "it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it." What I am sharing with you over the course of the next few minutes is my sin from hearing the voice of God loud and clear and not being obedient.

Since you know that I can't make it that simple, let me start at the beginning.


A little more than a year ago, the Lord gave me a Word, a promise, that I heard loud and clear: Isaiah 43:18-19,
“But forget all that—
    it is nothing compared to what I am going to do.
19 For I am about to do something new.
    See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
    I will create rivers in the dry wasteland."


I don't remember exactly what Bible Study we were doing at the time; it was probably Priscilla Shirer's Armor of God (if I'm going to guess). This Word from the Lord was confirmed for me just a short time later as Hillsong released a new album titled Let There be Light with a new song titled "Behold" based specifically on this verse (a different translation than NLT) along with Pastor Brian Houston preaching a sermon on these verses that is included on the album. 

Women of Joy posted an image on their Facebook page with that exact verse during that same time period! 

Around that time, a co-worker left where I worked and it made me think about who would be the next person to leave. As much as I loved my job teaching, I heard this voice in my head whisper, "It's going to be you, Polly." 

Yeah, Lord, we agreed that I'd leave within the next 5 years. Right. 

"No, sooner." 

Ha. Ha. Ok. 

"I mean it. 'Behold, I am about to do a new thing.'" 

Well, Lord, You'd better tell James, then! Because he'll kill me if I leave this job and all the benefits. I'm scared out of my mind even to mention it to him.

Over the course of the next months, things went downhill for me at work. I made mistakes and got in trouble for things that had not ever been a problem in the seventeen-and-a-half years I had been there. In October of last year, things came to a head and I had my first official write-up.

I was so devasted and things went from bad to worse so quickly that I entered mandatory counseling and was soon diagnosed as Bipolar with PTSD and Adjustment Disorder. (I had been diagnosed with Depression and Anxiety years prior.) During this time, I saw a total of three separate therapists: 1 counselor (school-sponsored EAP), 1 psychologist who prescribed my new meds, and 1 psychologist to talk to. 

You'd think that with all the help I was getting and the medication I was on that things would have been getting better at work, but they only continued getting worse as each day went by. I was beginning to hate the job I loved. I didn't tell too many people, but of the people I did tell, they all recommended that I hold on. Even my psychologists told me that emotionally I couldn't handle leaving my job.

I decided that everyone was right.

The problem was that during all this time, I had also been praying. And I had heard the voice of God loud and long and clear. You know how God spoke to Elijah in a still small voice? Ummm, yeah. This wasn't a still small voice. I had been praying in my car on my way to work, "Lord, should I quit my j....?"

"YES!!!!!!!"

Seriously. I can't express to you on the written screen enough how loud and vocal I heard the voice of God speak to me in that car that morning. It literally scared me. It is truly a miracle that I did not run off the road or have an accident.

I knew that I should have walked into my office as soon as I had a few minutes and write my letter of resignation and say that this would be my last semester.

I heard Him.

But I loved my job. I had been living my dream. Do you realize that I had wanted to teach since I was three years old? I never went to preschool, so I didn't even know what school was yet. For 17-1/2 years, I had been living my dream. How does one walk away from THAT????

I loved my kids. I still do. I always will. And they will ALWAYS be MY kids. I love you guys!!!!

Mom and Dad had taught me not to ever quit until I had another job lined up. I certainly didn't have that. I hadn't even considered what I'd do. All I knew was that I wanted to write. Eeek! 

James (my husband) was going to kill me! I would be walking away from stability: insurance, steady income, paid sick days, and all the other wonderful things my job with CVCC provided. 

And let's not forget the pride we all had in the fact that I was an English Instructor at a community college who had recently acquired the title "Senior Professor." And who had just last year been nominated Teacher of the Year. Even Samuel, my son, has always taken a certain amount of pride in the fact that his mom taught at the local community college--where he would eventually attend as a student.

So instead of listening to the voice of God, I questioned whether or not what I had heard was real. I mean, have you ever heard God's voice that vocal before and that quickly?? I'm embarrassed to admit it, but it scared me. A lot. And it shames me that I was too scared to share it with anyone. 

I had not forgotten His promise from a year ago Isaiah 43:18-19--the "new thing" He was going to do in my life. I had not forgotten that He had told me I would be leaving my school within the year. 

But. . .

Oh, my dear Precious Lord Jesus, forgive me.

I confess my sin. My heart hurts. As much pain as I have been in over the course of the past month--I could have saved myself so much of it if I had been obedient when I first heard the voice of the Lord. My sorrow has been great, my friends. It pains me to know that even after all these years, I still fail.

But so did Peter. And David. And Adam. And so many other Bible greats. The Bible tells us that we ALL have sinned and have fallen short of the glory of God. But as 1 John 1:9 tells us, "But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all wickedness." 

Thank You, Jesus. So, my friends. I am confessing my sins to Him and to you. I need complete forgiveness and complete cleansing in order to move forward in the "new thing" He has for me. I covet your prayers and words of encouragement.

Thank You, Lord, for Your forgiveness, mercy, and grace.


Tuesday, April 10, 2018

One more confession to make

I have one more confession to make. . . .

Do you have any idea how difficult it is to be vulnerable?

Ok. Ok. For those of you who know me, the real me, it is not difficult at all. I don't mind sharing--anything. But that's with people I know and love. It is difficult to share the real me with people I don't know well--and who will judge me. I am deathly afraid of sharing the real part of me that will be judged by others.

But the real truth is that I don't care what anyone thinks about me.

I love me. I love myself. I love who Polly Anna is. I know who I am in Jesus. I am proud of the woman Jesus has made me. I like
me. I like the loud Polly. I don't mind it at all. I love my laugh. I love my JOY. I love the fact that I embrace life. I love that I love with everything I am. I love how I love. I love that I have always known what I want and I go after it. I love my personality. I love FEELING--even the bad. I don't mind my tears even though my tears can be sobs that shake my body to the core. They don't scare me. Even my anger doesn't scare me. It can be intense, but I feel it deep in my soul, just as I do everything else. I feel love deep in my soul. I always thought everyone else did, too. I like ME. I Love ME. I Love Polly Anna. 

Sure I have days of low self-esteem. Who doesn't? Especially when someone says mean things or tells me I'm too loud or complains about something else. But when I stop and I take inventory and evaluate myself--who I am, I love ME. And I don't care whether you do or not. So go ahead and judge. 

If you are uncomfortable with the fact that I shared my vulnerability in my previous blog post--that I'm not doing ok right now, I'm not sorry. That's your problem. That is something you need to deal with. I hope you find a way to take your own mask off and love yourself enough to be vulnerable with others. I, for one, am done pretending to be someone I'm not.

I'm tired of being judged, bullied, and treated as a social pariah. I'm tired
of others making me feel as if being "different" is a bad thing. My mom always told me that it's ok to be different. And you know what? My Momma is right. It's those who are different who make a difference in the world. I don't like fitting in. Why in the world would I want to fit in when I was born to stand out? It's the oddballs who get noticed. It's the strange folks who end up being remembered. I don't want to be a lemming. I don't want to be a member of the lottery. I want to be a voice who says, "No!" The only way to make that happen is to be different. I'm very ok with that.

If my loudness or hugginess or other eccentricities bother you, I will not apologize for any part of who I am. I don't do any of it to make you uncomfortable or out of meanness or to disrupt your life in any way, shape, form, or fashion. I want to respect you. If who I am makes you uncomfortable, then, just like we do with Facebook, keep scrolling--just keep walking. But don't be mean.

Because I LOVE myself. And you should LOVE yourself, too, because you're pretty great, too, because both of us are just the way we are meant to be. I lika you and you lika me and we lika both the same. I am not scared of my vulnerability. All I can do is hope and pray that you can at least respect that.

Saturday, March 31, 2018

I have a confession to make

I truly do have a confession to make. It's not a secret. But it's a difficult confession to make. In spite of the fact that I have been seeking JOY--in spite of the fact that I know that God has given me more JOY than others--in spite of the fact that I have found JOY regardless of the difficult times I have been through. . .that does not mean that I do not still struggle to find JOY on a day-to-day basis--to CHOOSE JOY every single day.

I know. I know.

I have been studying JOY now steadily since 2009. That is almost 10 full years of studying one idea, one word, one Biblical concept. You'd think I'd have it ingrained deep in my very soul by now. And I do. At least, for the most part. 
  • I have spent almost every single day for two and a half years straight, more than 730 days, posting in Facebook at least one thing that brings me JOY. 
  • I have read every book on JOY that I can get my hands on--almost 50 books total.
  • I have completed every Bible Study on JOY that I have found (I've included the count in my books).
  • I continue to memorize Bible verses on JOY in as many translations as possible--and there are hundreds of JOY verses.
  • I write about JOY in this blog.
  • I have JOY t-shirts and other JOY paraphernalia--I even just bought a pair of the new Skechers Go Walk Joy Sneakers.
But I am not perfect. I am not Paul of the Biblical Paul. I do not find myself capable of singing for JOY as I am in my current difficult situation. Rather than singing songs of Praise, I find myself sobbing at every turn, screaming in anger at those I love just because they're close enough for me to project my anger onto, not caring who I hurt, not living, and sobbing a whole lot more. Worst of all, I am not CHOOSING JOY.

I have no desire to CHOOSE JOY. The pain goes so deep that JOY is the last thing on my mind. All I can think of is the hurt I feel. I am so sick and tired of the hurt. When a person has been through all that I have, when is enough ENOUGH? 

Huh, Lord? When is enough ENOUGH???? 

I AM NOT STRONG ENOUGH.

I do NOT Have enough JOY to handle all that is going on or that has happened.

I want to to be able to pull myself up by my bootstraps, CHOOSE JOY, smile, and show you that it can be done--that you CAN choose JOY regardless of what you have been through. That no matter what, God IS ENOUGH.

In my heart of hearts, I know that is true. And I know that I will eventually come to the place when I will be able to CHOOSE JOY again. But for right now, my heart just hurts and I don't have the energy to do anything more than rest in my Savior's arms. For now, I will let Him comfort me. I will cry on His shoulder. I will wait for His direction. I will let Him carry me because I don't have the strength to go any further on my own right now.

I know my Lord will use this time I am going through to help me grow in my faith and to be better used by Him for His glory, but I sure don't like this refining process right now. All I can do is pray that God is something super amazing for me on the other side because right now? I'm broken and JOY is the last thing on my mind.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Joy is My Word of the Year for 2018

My Word of Year for 2018 is JOY--yes, again. While it is good to study as much about the Bible as possible, it is becoming more and more clear to me that my focus was, is, and always will be JOY. As I read back over that sentence, it sounds as if I'm complaining; I'm not! I love studying JOY as much as possible. I love noticing every possible way that JOY is used. Just yesterday, as we were driving home from church, I noticed this display in the window of one of our local florists:
It's almost as if they created that display just for me! LOL!

Some time in early 2008, I found this gorgeous purple planner for 2009 that had beautiful embellishments with a focus on JOY. That was the first year that JOY was my Word of the Year; I knew that well before 2008 came to an end. I remember talking with a young lady (a student) about how God plans things out and prepares us in ways we'll never know or understand and may not even understand afterward. 

It was in 2009 that the Lord first gave me Psalm 45:7: 
"You love justice and hate evil.
    Therefore God, your God, has anointed you,
    pouring out the oil of joy on you more than on anyone else." 
As I've shared previously, I knew immediately that He was speaking directly to me as I read those words: "You, Polly, love justice and hate evil. Therefore God, your God, Polly, has anointed you, Polly, pouring out the oil of joy on you, Polly, more than on anyone else." I wrote the verse in my journal and I remember weeping as I prayed and received the Lord's anointing--right here in my living room.

Little did I know that in November of 2009 I would be at death's door--literally. It took all the JOY I had in me and then some to make it through those days when my family and I thought I was going to die. Walking around with an ostomy bag is NOTHING to be JOYFUL about, let me tell you, whether you are in your late thirties as I was or older in life. Using the bathroom into a bag on your stomach while teaching makes finding JOY in the day-to-day livings was a struggle too difficult to put into words.

Add to that battle the fact that I have continued to struggle over the years with the losses of my babies. That burden has always weighed heavily on my heart and soul and made finding JOY more difficult than normal. But I clung to God's promise of His anointing oil of JOY--more than anyone else. If my God had promised it, He would fulfill it.

I may always struggle with finding and receiving the full JOY that God has for me--that He has anointed me with. But that's ok because as I struggle with finding JOY, I am seeking JOY--I am learning about JOY--I am receiving the fullness of JOY.

So I will continue to have JOY as my Word of the Year for 2018. It may be my Word of the Year forever and ever, amen and amen. Wouldn't that be wonderful?!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

I am Defined by...Part 2

I am Defined by...Part 1

I am Polly Anna. My parents named me perfectly. According to Eleanor H. Porter's Pollyanna, a Pollyanna is someone who looks for the good in life--someone who finds something to be Glad about even when it is difficult, if not impossible, to find something to be Glad about. Pollyanna is known for playing "The Glad Game." Yes, it is very high on my list of favorite book of all time.

According to the "Word Origin and History for Pollyanna": "n.
one who finds cause for gladness in the most difficult situations," 1921, a reference to Pollyanna Whittier, child heroine of U.S. novelist Eleanor Hodgman Porter's "Pollyanna" (1913) and "Pollyanna Grows Up" (1915), who was noted for keeping her chin up during disasters.
http://www.dictionary.com/browse/pollyanna?s=t

A few synonyms for a Pollyanna are: dreamer, hoper, positive thinker.

The American definition of Pollyanna is actually very offensive: "an excessively or blindly optimistic person." I do not identify with the American definition of Pollyanna in the slightest, but I will say that this is why I believe that so many people are so easily put off by me. Having the anointing oil of joy more than anyone else is a heavy responsibility. One of the most difficult reasons why it is a heavy responsibility is because it means that many are easily offended by my "excessive or blind optimism." But I can't answer for anyone but myself. I am who I am. I am who God made me, not just the name my parents gave me.

I am not only Polly Anna in name--on my birth certificate and in my signature, but I am a Polly Anna in every fiber of my being. I am one who finds cause for gladness in difficult situations. I am a dreamer, hoper, positive thinker. I do play the Glad Game. I do look for the good in people and situations. I live life enthusiastically and with JOY. I love to laugh. I love to make others laugh. I love to smile. I smile for no reason whatsoever. I love to sing just to sing because I'm happy!

"I sing because I'm happy! I sing because I'm free!"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5QbNh6C7ijU

I tend to be the one who gets a tad overly-excited about the little things--who squeals like a stuffed pig when I'm excited. A sweet friend took me with her to Washington, DC several years ago and, of course, we went to the National Zoo where we got to see my very favorite animal in the whole wide world: pandas! Yes, I screamed, squealed, cried, and screamed some more! My friend finally walked away and went to find a seat where she waited--patiently, I think--for me. She still teases me about it. When my husband took me to Zoo Atlanta a few years later, my reaction was similar. I think my screaming and crying for joy actually scared a few people. I honestly started screaming and hyperventilating before we even got to the Panda-paddock. My husband wasn't sure I'd even make it to see the pandas!

I try to go see movies in the theater during slower movie times because when I watch a movie, I WATCH a movie. I laugh loud. I cry--loud. If it's a musical, I sing--loud. (I even whisper loud.) Some people laugh along with me and get a kick out of my enjoyment of the film--and we all have a very good time. Others get really upset and tell me that I am ruining the movie for them and ask me to be quiet. I honestly don't mean to be rude or ruin their experience. I simply enjoy can't help it. Honest!


Yes, I am loud. That, too, is very much a part of Polly Anna. I do try. I really do. I respect those around me so very much who are able to speak quietly yet metaphorically carry a big stick. I think that is awesome. What an incredible power to wield! I speak very loudly and carry a toothpick. Seriously. And it's a blunt toothpick, not one of those sharp ones. Even my whispering is loud. When I was little, my Grandpa Keefer was always telling me, "Not so loud, Polly." Every so often, as an adult teacher, I've had teachers from the classroom next door come over and say, "Not so loud, Mrs. Watson." 

It does hurt my feelings, a lot, to be told over and over that I am too loud, especially when I do try not to be so loud. But even when I try to speak in a softer, quieter voice, it comes out loud and strong and clear. It simply bursts forth out of me--almost of its own volition.

And I talk a lot. A lot a lot. Throughout my school days, I always did very well and had very good reports to bring home to my parents. The only comment that was ever on my reports was, "Polly talks too much." The only reason I ever got in trouble in school was for talking. Teachers would try to move me across the room away from my friends, never realizing that I would just make friends with the new people--if I wasn't already friends with them. I talked to everyone: boys, girls, teachers, myself, my hairbrush. And I still do.

I am also a touchie-feelie kind of person. I like to stand close enough to be touching the person I am talking to, or sitting close. I will typically touch the person--on the hand, arm, shoulder, face, or head. If I am close to the person (a family member or very close friend, I may rub the underside of her upper arm or her back). And I hug--any and everyone who will let me hug him/her. I love hugs. My Grandpa Keefer was a hugger; everyone loved his hugs. When we were all sitting around after his death, everyone talked about how wonderful his hugs were. I want to be remembered for my hugs, too.

As I have gotten older, all of the previous characteristics have continued to define me. No matter how hard I have tried to dampen the ones that have gotten me into trouble, they continue to get me into trouble. Yet, I am Polly Anna and I love that part of who I am. It is my favorite part of myself. I truly wish that part of myself could and would always manifest itself--be manifested on a day-to-day basis.

But like Pollyanna in the story, my life has not been perfect. I almost wish that the worst thing that has ever happened to me would be to fall out of a tree and not be able to walk. (I don't mean that. I'm speaking metaphorically here.) Like Pollyanna Harrington, I have had many times in my life when it has been beyond difficult to play "The Glad Game"--to be Polly Anna. 

    In my twenties while my husband and I were living in Springfield, MO, I fell into a deep depression that I found it very difficult to come out of even after we had moved back to NC. I think I stayed in at least a state of mild depression until I got pregnant with our first son.
    During my pregnancy when we had the first ultrasound, it revealed a large mass on my left ovary. After a few weeks, they did another ultrasound and discovered that the mass had grown a centimeter for every week that had passed since the first ultrasound. The doctor decided that he needed to do a surgery right away--I was at 20 weeks--to remove the mass as well as my ovary and part of the fallopian tube. All was well with our baby boy.
    On March 16, 1999, I went to the OB for my regular weekly appointment, excited about the final weeks of my pregnancy. I was at 38 weeks. They couldn't find a heartbeat. James Isaac Watson was stillborn on March 17, 1999.
    Then on November 10, 1999, I miscarried: Panya Ruth Watson.
    Anna Rose Watson was miscarried while I was on campus at the college where I teach on November 22, 2005.
    I think depression is a given.
    My marriage went down the tubes.
    In November 2009, at death's door, I had to have an ostomy bag
for three months. In April 2010, it was reversed and the doctor removed eight inches of my colon.
    Then, in November of 2010, I had a uterine ablasion because of vaginal bleeding due to a polyp.
    I don't remember the year, but somewhere in there, I had a meltdown where I might have killed James if he hadn't left the house. 
    During that same time period, I had a boss who had it in for me and was determined to have me fired. 
    I began seeing a chiropractor and a massage therapist.
    I had my first official anxiety attack and began taking medicine specifically for anxiety.
    I also began taking medicine for depression--eventually going up to 100 mg.
    Migraines have been a consistent problem throughout all this time. I have been able to keep them managed--mostly--with Excedrine Migraine.
    In December of 2016, I had my gall bladder removed.
    Summer of 2017, I was officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia.
    I was written up at work in October 2017 and the very next day, I yelled at my boss.
    In December 2017, I was diagnosed with:
            Bipolar 2
            PTSD
            Adjustment Disorder

All of these things make Polly Anna who Polly Anna is. Do you have any idea what it's like to be a super social person but yet full of anxiety when you even think about social situations, so you more often than not cancel social functions? Most of the time, if I somehow or another get to the social event, I have a wonderful time; I enjoy myself very much and I think that the people who socialize are glad that I was there. 

But then there are the very few times when being amongst others is so overwhelming that I have literally run from the party, jumped in my car, and screamed the whole way home. 

There have been times when the negative comments about my exuberance or my loudness or my enthusiasm have hurt my feelings so badly that I have gone home, sat in my spot on the couch, and not moved for days, weeks, and even months except to go to work or church. And I did those with little to no enthusiasm or desire to be there. 

I have become so angry because of the hurtful comments that I took to saying things like "I'd like to punch [...] in the throat." I wrote several stories about serial killing. (Granted, I honestly they're actually pretty good stories about serial killing, but I used myself as the model for the serial killer in each story.) I was holding a baby once and when he grabbed my glasses off my face after slapping me, I was so close to hurting him, I put him down and ran away. 

I have terrible "temper tantrums." I have recently learned that these are part of the Bipolar diagnosis and are called "manic rages." They can come as quickly as they go and there is rarely a rhyme or a reason for them. I have mostly been able to keep them under control in public, especially at my work, but that has not been easy. If I am successful there, then the rage has to be released somewhere and that, sadly, tends to be at home on my husband and/or son.

Yet, through it all, I continue to seek JOY. I know that I still have the anointing oil of JOY on me more than anyone else. I still live life with enthusiasm. I still smile a lot, laugh a lot, sing a lot, hug a lot. Some of it is because it's still me--Polly Anna--underneath all the "stuff" that has happened over the past 30 years, but some of it is the mask I have created for when it is simply too difficult to BE me, but yet I need to be Polly Anna. Several years ago, around 2009, in fact, God gave me Psalm 45:7: 
I knew as soon as I read that verse that He meant it for me, as a special Word from Him to me, that His Holy Spirit was speaking directly to my very soul. In that moment, God anointed me, pouring out the oil of Joy on me more than on anyone else. It is a heavy responsibility that I do NOT take lightly or for granted.


Every single detail I have mentioned throughout here makes me who I am today--makes me the Polly Anna I am today, December 21, 2017, at 47 years old. A part of me wishes that none of the bad stuff had ever happened. But then I am reminded that God more often than not uses those who have struggled greatly. 1 Peter 1 says: "So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world." Almost every single Hero of the Faith whether in the Bible or someone we know historically experienced great trials, tribulations, and suffering. Paul talks about how he asked God three separate times to take the thorn of suffering from his side, but God refuses. Paul accepts the inevitable saying that he is glad, thankful for his weakness because it is in his weakness that he is made strong in Christ (2 Corinthians 12). 

Maybe, just maybe, like Paul, I have these thorns so that in my
weakness, I am only made strong through Jesus Christ my Savior.


And then we go back to 2 Corinthians which reminds us that: "God
is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us." In other words, not only do all my trials help define me, but they are also meant to be used to help comfort others. God HAS comforted me through all my trials; He continues to comfort me through them. My "job" (if you will allow me to use that term) is to comfort others who have experienced similar trials. 

Maybe, just maybe, others will see me--hear my story or ready my story and find comfort in it because, in spite of it all, because of it all, in it all, through it all, IT IS WELL.

It is well with my soul. I may have mental illnesses and physical disabilities and character traits that drive others crazy. I may be different from the vast majority of the people I know and come into contact with. You may not understand why I smile. You may not understand why I smile at you. 

That's ok.

Because I am Polly Anna. When I die, I hope it can and will be said of me: 
Polly Anna: She sure was!
Polly Anna

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

With great power comes great responsibility

It's difficult to find someone nowadays who has not heard "With great power comes great responsibility." My first memory of it is in the original Spiderman movie with Toby McGuire many moons ago. We actually have this quote on the wall just down from my office suite at school, so I see it every single day. We tend to attribute the meaning to superheroes, but it is a reality that it applies to everyday people.

We all have a certain individual power within us--a God-given gift (power) that we are to use for His glory. That power, that gift, scares the enemy something fierce because he knows that when we use our gift, we make a difference in the lives of those around us. Some even come to know Christ as their Savior as a result of us using our gifts.

If you have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know
that I have received the anointing oil of JOY more than anyone else (Psalm 45:7 & Hebrews 1:9). How do I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt that this anointing has been bestowed upon me? Because in spite of losing 3 babies, almost dying (literally), and dealing with depression, anxiety, and other mental health & health issues, I am still having to CHOOSE JOY--to FIND JOY--to BE JOY.

I want you to know that it is NOT easy carrying such a great power. I do not take it lightly. I have days where finding the JOY within me is more difficult than my ever eating peas (that will NEVER happen). I truly have to reach down deep and beg God to fill me with His JOY because I sure can't do it on my own. I may have an anointing oil of JOY more than anyone else, but that does not mean, by any stretch of the imagination, that being JOYFUL is easy. It is a responsibility I do not take lightly, I can promise you that.

Like Spiderman (Peter Parker), I have days when I am successful at being JOYFUL (fighting bad guys in Spiderman's case). Like him, I also have days when the weight of my responsibility bears down on me such that I wonder if it is all worth it; I wonder if I might be better off taking off this cloak of anointing--as Spiderman takes off his costume (for a time). 

But the truth is that when we have a great power (gift) that has been bestowed upon us by God Himself, we must continue wearing the cloak of responsibility regardless of the circumstances and regardless of how we may feel about it. 

Most days, I love that God has anointed me with the oil of JOY more than anyone else. I am a woman of JOY and I am very proud of that fact. JOY truly is my jam. I easily see JOY where others don't. I can pick out the word itself from a mile away! If my body could demonstrate this power, it would look like whatever JOY might look like to each person who sees me.

I love that. I thank God for this incredible gift He has bestowed upon me. I am wonderstruck by His love for me that He finds me special enough to anoint me with His oil of joy more than anyone else.

But the days when L.I.F.E. happens, I wish God would "take this cup from me." When it gets difficult to CHOOSE JOY, I have to dig down deep and pray that His will be done. 

So when you see me in what you might interpret as an overly enthusiastic state, I hope you know that such a state is a gift from God that I know is a great responsibility. 

PS: As I head into the possibility of being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder, I realize that a lot of my over-enthusiastic moments may be a part of such a mental disorder. Sometimes my exuberance scares me, too. I believe that God wants me to be JOYFUL--to spread JOY--and to BE JOY, but when my being such makes those around me back away uncomfortably, that is not the JOY He wants of me. I am to be a JOY that draws people to God instead of turning them away from Him. 

I always tell my students that we have to be careful that we don't overdo anything in our writings--that overdoing can be just as bad as underdoing. The same applies to the Gifts God has given each of us. What I write is meant to draw my reader in and make my reader WANT to read what I have written. What I do in JOY is meant to draw in those around me and make them WANT to be JOYFUL, too.

I desire with every fiber of my being to use my power (my gift of JOY) for God's glory which is why I am getting help and doing whatever is necessary to figure out how to be JOYFUL--how to use this power--responsibly. I am truly devastated when I use it irresponsibly. 

May I use my great power of JOY with great responsibility.